Montana will play for its first win of the season Saturday night
Sept. 1, 2012
San Diego State hit .438 and remained unbeaten on the season with a quick 25-15, 25-15, 25-20 win over the Montana volleyball team Saturday afternoon on the second day of SDSU's Holiday Inn Mission Valley Aztec Challenge. The loss keeps the Grizzlies, at 0-5, still in search of their first win of the season.
San Diego State, which added a number of impact transfers to a team already stacked with five returning starters from last year's 18-win team, improved to 4-0 on the season. The Aztecs have dropped just two sets on the season, both in their 3-2 upset of No. 17 California last weekend.
SDSU's hitting percentage of .438 was the highest by a Montana opponent since Nevada hit .450 early in the 2004 season.
"This is easily the best team we've played to this point," UM volleyball coach Jerry Wagner said. "Even if everything was 110-percent perfect for us, I still don't know if it would have been enough."
San Diego State had five players who recorded eight or nine kills. All five hit .300 or better, and none had more than two attack errors. The Aztecs had just eight attack errors as a team.
"I thought we had them scouted, but they have veteran hitters who found the open areas," Wagner said.
Montana was not completely outplayed in the match. The Grizzlies hit .143, a surprising percentage for a team that won just 50 points.
Bray also continued her effective defense at the net, finishing with a match-high four blocks. She is averaging 1.40 blocks per set through five matches this season.
True freshman Gabby Crowell got her first career start on the left side and had three kills on 10 swings with just one error. The rest of the team had a negative hitting percentage.
San Diego State had just one more service ace than Montana and one more block, and the Grizzlies, at 4:3, had their first positive service-ace-to-service-error ratio of the season.
In the end it was too much San Diego State offense, and Montana could not keep up.
"They just had a better attack than we did," Wagner said. "They ran everything they wanted to."
The Aztecs jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening set and a 7-3 advantage in the second. The Grizzlies held a handful of leads in a third set that had seven early ties. The set was tied at 10 before SDSU scored seven of the next nine points to take control.
Saturday night's final session of the tournament will feature Montana against Sacred Heart (1-4) and Utah State (5-1) against SDSU in what worked out to be the championship match. The Grizzlies will face the Pioneers, who lost in four sets to Utah State Saturday morning, at 6 p.m. (MT).
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